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Constructing excellence

11th December 2014

Architecture graduate Richard Marsden is building a bright future after winning a prestigious national award for his achievements in the construction industry.

The 29-year-old company director, who graduated from Northumbria in 2009, was named Young Achiever of the Year at the recent national Constructing Excellence 2014 awards in London.

More than 450 industry professionals attended the awards, which recognise the highest standards of practice in UK construction. Richard, a chartered architect and Building Information Modelling (BIM) coordinator at BDN Ltd, was praised by judges for his passion and commitment. In the few years since his graduation, he has established his own eco-development company and hosted workshops with students to create a bespoke house-type model that is already being looked at by international companies.

“I am elated with the award. It makes all the hard work and effort count for something,” Richard said. “If it inspires one person to become an architect then I’ll be happy.”

Richard, who is from Sunderland, added: “I entered the architectural profession for different reasons than most students. While I have a passion for design quality and construction excellence, I was personally attracted to the wider skills and abilities that architecture provides. 

“As my father is a builder based in Sunderland, I spent most weekends working on building sites and familiarising myself with the construction business. Through this, I learned that the North East is rich in potential sites for creative development opportunities. I wanted an architectural education that developed my manual and digital communications skills, allowing me to evaluate and capitalise on these potential sites, and design creative, buildable and imaginative responses to project briefs. 

“I would advise anyone wishing to become an architect to look at Northumbria’s website, and view the range and quality of the architecture projects developed by the students.  

“Architecture at Northumbria is ranked in the top 10 in the UK and credit must go to the staff for this. Hundreds of talented architecture and built environment students have found success at Northumbria, and I’m honoured that the University nominated me for this award.”

Richard’s tutor at Northumbria, Professor Paul Jones, nominated him for the Constructing Excellence North East award, which he won before progressing to the national finals.

Professor Jones, Chair of Learning and Teaching in Architecture, said: “Richard is an outstanding individual who, since graduating from Northumbria, has succeeded in blending his creative talents and entrepreneurial flair, resulting in him taking on leading and influential roles in the region's construction industry. In a very short time he has developed cutting edge expertise as a director of an architectural and engineering consultancy, as well as establishing his own innovative eco-development company. He is a credit to the University and this award is testament to his passion, knowledge and confidence.”

Architecture at Northumbria was rated 6th in the UK by The Guardian’s league table, 7th by the Sunday Times, and was also in the top ten of the Complete University Guide 2015. To find more about studying architecture at Northumbria visit . A postgraduate open day will be held on campus on 11 February. To register, email

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